After missing the Western Conference Playoffs for the sixth straight year, most people expected the Los Angeles Lakers to become more aggressive in finding superstars who could play alongside LeBron James in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, one game before the 2018-19 NBA season officially ended for the Lakers, Magic Johnson, the man who vowed to turn the Purple and Gold into a legitimate title contender, announced that he would be resigning as president of basketball operations.
According to NBA.com, Magic Johnson repeatedly said that the main reason why he decided to leave his job with the Lakers was that he wanted to have freedom of interaction and expression with other players again. However, Bleacher Report senior writer and Fox Sports 1 analyst Ric Bucher claimed that there is a bigger reason behind Johnson’s decision to resign.
In an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s show on Wednesday, Ric Bucher revealed that Magic Johnson quit as the Lakers president of basketball operations after seeing the exchange of emails between team owner Jeanie Buss and General Manager Rob Pelinka criticizing his bad performance.
“My understanding is that there were some emails that were exchanged between Rob and Jeanie…about Magic and about what Magic was and wasn’t doing,” Bucher said, as quoted by USA Today’s Lonzo Wire. “They were critical emails. And somehow, someway, Jeanie, from what I understand, was CC’ing or blind CC’ing Magic on everything. That was sort of protocol. Standard issue. Somehow, the exchange between Rob and Jeanie ended up on that string of the blind CC’s that were going to Magic.”
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) April 24, 2019
In the rumored exchange of emails, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reportedly didn’t show any indication that she’s backing up Rob Pelinka and making Magic Johnson aware of all the issues or defending him against the GM’s criticisms. Bucher believes that this is where the “backstabbing” incident Johnson was previously talking about started. So far, Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, and Jeanie Buss haven’t released a statement that can confirm or deny Bucher’s revelations.
As of now, the Lakers are busy finding their replacement for Luke Walton as their head coach. The Lakers have already interviewed several coaching candidates, including former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams, and former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. Though Magic Johnson is no longer in their office, the Lakers are still expected to find ways to improve their roster in the 2019 NBA offseason. The Lakers have enough salary cap space to chase big names in the 2019 NBA free agency and a plethora of trade assets that they could use to acquire a superstar who will be available on the trade market.